To follow on from the first #EuropeanFitbaw podcast of this 2020/21 season we're having a continental period at Pure Fitbaw. Colin Cunningham kicked us off with a data scouting article that unearthed some unheralded attackers, Byron Hutchison put the spotlight on players to watch in the Bundesliga and we're in France for the next selection; my five from Ligue 1.
With the data explosion in football it has never been easier to find good players. Free sources like FBref and Understat allow even casual observers to sort players on various useful metrics –anyone can quickly find that Sergio Aguero had the best expected goals per 90 in the Premier League in 19/20 or that nobody completed more dribbles per match than Adama Traore. And this is before we even consider paid subscriptions for industry-leading software such as Opta and Statsbomb. However, most clubs do not have the finances to just filter on certain stats and look to sign whoever shows up in top 10 results because they are likely already at an elite club or on the radar of one. I’ve had a look at a number of techniques that can give us an alternative view of players that may be of interest.
There's a feeling of imminent separation with every transfer window when it comes to Alfredo Morelos and Glasgow Rangers. Rumours of bids from English clubs such as Aston Villa and Leeds United and from teams in the Chinese Super League have circulated during his time at the Ibrox clubs without resulting in a firm bid but it seems more and more likely this summer will see a parting of the ways. This week Morelos was AWOL from training and dropped from a match squad after arriving back late from a trip home to Colombia which may influence Steven Gerrard's decision of a bid does materialise soon. When it does happen the Rangers scouting department heads Ross Wilson and Andy Scoulding will have a difficult task replacing "El Buffalo".
This week Owen and Gavin talk about Daniel Stendel’s first match in charge of Hearts, preview a crucial Bundesliga clash between Borussia Dortmund and RB Leipzig and then scout SC Braga and FC København; the Europa League knockout stage opponents for Rangers and Celtic.
Here, deep in the bowels of Pure Fitbaw Towers, we've finished basking in the glow of a Scottish victory over Albania in the Nations League and have fired up the dusty old statistical scouting databases, twiddled with our abacuses and watched hours and hours of game footage to bring you the first of our International Break scouting reports. Each International Break we will analyse some stats and highlight some young players to keep your eye on throughout the season.
As Alfie Mawson nears the completion of a £20 million move from Swansea City to Fulham F.C. we take a look at central defenders manager Graham Potter could consider as replacements while also further strengthening the Scottish connection at the club. Pure Fitbaw profiles three players the Swans could attempt to recruit for the campaign to bounce back from last season's relegation to the English Championship.
Jack Ross, with his miraculous turnaround which took St Mirren from certain relegation to automatic promotion, is one of the most talked about Scottish managers of the last 18 months. He has received some of the highest plaudits in Scotland for his work and most recently pipped Brendan Rodgers, despite the Celtic boss' double treble win, to the PFA Scotland Manager of the Year award. Ross has become the Sunderland manager and the English League One club's fans should bear in mind that Ross, when interviewed by TheTwoPointOne stated; "if you move clubs or have a big turnover of playing squad you don't necessarily try to implement the same system with players if it doesn't suit". PureFitbaw have picked out some players that we can see making the move from the SPFL to the Black Cats.
We review the past week's content on Pure Fitbaw ICYMI and take a look at what's coming up this week as we Scout the Week in Scottish football.